Freshwater rod fishing rules

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When and where you can fish

‘Close seasons’ are seasons when you can’t fish for some types of fish on certain types of water.

For example, you can’t fish for coarse fish on any river in England and Wales from 15 March to 15 June.

Reservoirs, lakes and ponds (‘enclosed stillwaters’) and canals

You can fish for coarse fish, eels, rainbow trout and brown trout on most enclosed stillwaters and canals all year.

Read the local byelaws to check your area.

Rivers, streams, drains or waterways (other than canals)

You can’t fish for coarse fish and eels on rivers from the 15 March to 15 June (you can fish for eel in some areas - read the local byelaws).

You need to read the local byelaws for close seasons for salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout on rivers.

Privately owned bodies of water can also have their own close seasons.

Lock and weir fishing on the Thames

You must have an additional permit to fish locks and weirs on the Thames.

Game fishing during the coarse fish close season

You can fish for salmon, trout and other game fish during the coarse fish close season. You have to use certain types of lures and baits in some areas however.

Midlands, Yorkshire, and the north-east and north-west of England

You can only use natural or artificial fly, minnow, worm, shrimp, prawn, sand eel or artificial lures during close season.

South-east of England

You can only use artificial fly. In the Thames area, you can apply for permission from the Environment Agency to also use minnow caught in a minnow trap if used on the same waters.

Wales or the south-west of England

Read the local byelaws for Wales or the south-west of England.